This six ingredient custard cookie cake will blow you away. Not only does this recipe take 15 minutes to prep, it requires minimal ingredients. This custard cookie cake is called “Biskvitena Torta” in Bulgaria and it’s an incredibly nostalgic recipe. I have been eating cake like this since I was a toddler and this specific cake reminds me of the hundreds of times I have gathered around the table with my grandma to layer custard and cookies together. This cake has brought an incredible amount of laughter, joy, and love into my life so I hope it has the same effect on you.

This cake is a very traditional recipe in Bulgaria and can be found on every menu throughout the country. There are different variations of it (some with chocolate) but my grandmas simple version is always the best.

Custard cookie cake by the modern nonna custard cookie cake

Custard Cookie Cake

This six ingredient custard cookie cake will blow you away. Not only does this recipe take 15 minutes to prep, it requires minimal ingredients. This custard cookie cake is called "Biskvitena Torta" in Bulgaria and it's an incredibly nostalgic recipe.
3.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Resting Time 8 hrs
Servings 6


  • 9 by 13 baking dish or any dish you like


  • 6 egg yolks (yolks only)
  • 10 heaping tablespoons sugar (190 grams or 3/4 cup)
  • 4 heaping tablespoons corn starch (80 grams or 1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
  • 5 cups of warm milk (1.25 liters)
  • 2 packs Papadopoulos cookies any plain cookies will work

Additional Ingredients:

  • water for dipping and softening the cookies prior to layering
  • crushed cookies + walnuts for the top shaved chocolate or toasted coconut is also a delicious alternative


  • Separate the egg yolks from the whites. If you don't know how to do this, please look at this tutorial first 4 simple ways to separate egg yolks
  • To a big glass bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and corn starch. Whisk it really well together.
  • My grandma and I never measured, we always added heaping tablespoons of corn starch and sugar and never used a measuring cup. Feel free to do this as well or use my exact measurements above.
  • In the meantime, warm up the milk on the stove. I add the milk on medium heat and keep a very good eye on it. We don't want the milk to boil, we want it to come to a simmer.
  • Note: when you hear me say that we have to "temper" something, that means we have to bring something up to temperature by slowly adding it in and whisking the whole time.
  • Once the milk is hot, take it off the heat and start adding a little at a time (with a ladle) into the egg mixture as you whisk at the same time until the mixture comes up to temperature. This is what we call TEMPERING. I slowly add the milk and whisk at the same time until the milk has finished.
  • Once this step is complete and the milk is tempered, add the whole mixture BACK into the pot. Put it on the stove on medium heat and whisk the whole time until it's thick like custard. It usually takes 5-7 minutes for the milk mixture to turn into custard. As soon as the custard is thick, take it off the heat.
  • We can now begin to layer while the custard is hot. Take the cookies and dip each one (one at a time) into a bowl of water. Don't hold the cookie in the water, just submerge it and take it out. Place the cookie in your baking dish and start to arrange them making a single layer covering the bottom.
  • I arrange 15 cookies in each layer as that is what my baking dish allows for. You may need less/more depending on the dish you use.
  • Once the first layer is done, add a 2-3 ladles of custard on top making sure the cookies are fully covered. Repeat this step two more times.
  • Note: you are going to dip each cookie one at a time and arrange them. I like making the cake starting with a layer of cookies, layer of custard, layer of cookies, custard, layer of cookies and the final layer with the remaining custard. You should have 3 layers of cookies + 3 layers of custard starting with the first layer being cookies.
  • Once the cake is assembled, you can cover it tightly with saran wrap and let it rest in the fridge overnight. You CAN eat it warm but we like to wait so that the flavors can marry and the cookies can soften.
  • Before serving I like to crush a few cookies with walnuts in my food processor and add them on top. You can also add toasted coconut as well or even chocolate shavings. Enjoy!


This cake will last in the fridge up to 3 days. You can absolutely make it the night before for the following day as it’s best served after resting overnight
The topping is completely optional. You can use crushed cookies, crushed walnuts (or both), shaved chocolate or even toasted coconut. The toppings are all up to you and to taste. 
You will have to separate the yolks from the whites. I like to save the whites and use them for omelets or other recipes. 
If you want to add cacao to this cake and make it into a chocolate custard you absolutely can as my grandma and I often did. 
Feel free to use vanilla bean paste, vanilla pod, or vanilla extract. I love the Madagascar vanilla bean paste. 
You can use any plain cookies you like. We love using the Greek, Bulgarian, or Portuguese ones (Maria cookies). As long as they are plain tea biscuits, the recipe will work. Here is an image of the ones local to me papadopoulos cookies
You don’t have to REST this cake, my grandma and I would eat it warm when we lost patience but it is best served once rested an the flavors have developed. As the cake rests the cookies will soften in the fridge overnight. 
You can dip the cookies to soften in water, milk, or coffee. We usually use water or milk but it’s up to you. 
If you feel lazy and don’t want to make your own custard you can absolutely use store-bought custard packets but it’s not NEARLY AS GOOD as home made.
If you want to use a smaller dish and make a higher cake, you absolutely can. My grandma (Bapche) used to break the cookies at times in her hands as well and make it into a round dish too.  
To make this recipe gluten/dairy-free: please use your favorite gluten-free cookies. You can TRY plant or lactose-free milk. Alternatively you can look for a custard recipe online that is dairy-free or vegan. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
If you love one of my recipes, please leave a review. It would mean so much to me if you did. Thank you for being here and bringing me into your kitchen.

4 Responses

  1. If you wanted to enhance this with a lemony flavouring, where and how could you apply it? Dip cookies in a lemon flavoured water? Top with lemon curls or rind?

  2. One of the easiest and most delicious recipes ever. Just old fashioned homestyle goodness! Thank you.

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